At this point, the mighty Machinefabriek (aka Rutger Zuydervelt) is vying with Sun Ra for the biggest catalog award — the Machinefabriek Discogs page currently sits at 180 entries (and that doesn't count the run of releases issued under Zuydervelt's given name), and all this in a career spanning just 13 years. It's fair to say that Zuydervelt is one of experimental music's true renaissance men, crossing a multitude of subgenres (minimalism, noise, ambient, pattern music, drone, post-classical, soundscape) with ease, scattered over every media platform imaginable, be it physical or digital. Often, the many sounds he augurs remain as elusive as the formats they're smeared upon like so much jelly, amorphous yet tactile, immersive and confrontational, bold yet serene. He's an artist of many talents, and, from such a large library of recordings and performances, what is perhaps most remarkable is that few of his works sound alike: the syntax is somewhat recognizable but the vocabulary alters from album to album.
Machinefabriek music is formidable enough on its own, but when thrust into the web of collaboration, the results tend to colorize your listening space with more vibrant results. Weerkaatsing pairs Zuydervelt with Dutch musician Sietse van Erve, who trades under the nom de plume Orphax. Van Erve's body of work is nothing to sniff at, either; he's no novice, and though his own catalog isn't as deep as Zuydervelt's, he's nevertheless worked as diligently and comprehensively over a similar clutch of years. As with the best studio cooperatives, it's impossible to discern who is bringing what to the table, but that unification of ideas and soul posits Weerkaatsing as a high-water mark in both artist's oeuvres. The opening "Spiegeling" is a thing of shimmering beauty, a softly oscillating series of bent pitches and oxygenated aerations, short on evolution but long on communal empathy, seamlessly integrating the finer drops of each contributor's stealthy command of tone and drone. The title track moves in decidedly different environs, where great drafts of spiraling fizz and fuzz achieve horizontal hold that, like an orange afternoon melting into stark evening, shifts almost imperceptibly between an expansive harmonic bandwidth.
Zuydervelt and van Erve triangulate their focused sensibilities expertly on the final piece, "Reflectie". Soft acid rain spills out across a sea of swelling static, until the peaks are leveled off to reveal a trilling burr of low-lying bass pulse; once the duo push the heavier frequencies back in the mix, the gradual appearance of frostier tones begin to respirate until the lower decibel ratios reappear once again. Recalling Eliane Radigue and Christina Kubitsch's similarly queasy forays, there is a rugged majesty at play here, leagues beyond the minimally flaccid, solipsistic compositions of so many other wannabe dronemeisters. A quite fortuitous meeting of minds indeed, built for the future.
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